It all started last year around this time.
Mother’s Day was Sunday, May 8th and my daughter’s College Graduation was on Wednesday, May 11th. We had a nice Mother’s Day celebration with my sister who was visiting, but Graduation Day was special. I felt so proud of my daughter and also felt that a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was an accomplished parent, having reached the important milestone of guiding my kid through life and see her graduate from college. Valerie was super happy too and mostly because that same day she was going off with a group of other students on a month long Euro trip.
My daughter and I have always been close. I separated from, and two years later divorced, her father when she was only 6 years old. Since then, Valerie and I have always been a unit, she has been my driving force, my inspiration, my reason to get up after every fall.
There are many factors that influence a parent child relationship. None are the same. In our case, the memories we have created together are an unbreakable bond. Throughout her upbringing, we had traditions that repeated every year. Every field day was a special mother daughter day. Eastern, Halloween and Christmas were always a special time. We decorated the house, painted eggs, baked cupcakes and cookies together and included her friends as well. And it was CONSISTENT EVERY YEAR. Traveling was also a big part of our lives, mostly because of annual incentive trips that I got from the company I worked for. Valerie learned from a small age, to appreciate and love the diversity of places, people, food and culture.
For about a month before her College Graduation Day, I had been considering the possibility of taking a career break to go travel the world. I had been doing research but that day was the defining moment. I felt that I had fulfilled my duty, that after so many years working hard, I could finally take a break. I didn’t want to wait until retirement but there was a little detail. I didn’t want to do it alone! Of course, I thought that my daughter was the best companion I could ever dream of, but I also knew that she was excited about starting her own life, getting a job, moving out, etc. I finally got the courage to call her (during her trip) and talked to her about this crazy idea of mine. I asked her to listen carefully, I explained the pros and cons and told her to sleep on it and get back to me the following day. It meant postponing her plans, becoming homeless and carless, living with only one suitcase, becoming nomads and being together 24/7 for six months!
SHE SAID YES. And I will always be grateful to my daughter for making that decision. For helping make my dream come true. For being brave, for taking the plunge with me.
I quit my job mid June. We planned the first two months of our trip, packed our apartment in Miami and moved out July 31. We spent the month of August with family in Puerto Rico and New Mexico and left for our adventure on September 2016. Our website, Mari and Val Round the World was born as well as Facebook and Instagram pages. We visited 23 countries and 68 cities in six months. We became travel bloggers and our Facebook/Instagram followers were the family that accompanied us during every day of our journey.
Our mother daughter relationship was tested. We had to learn to complement each other according to our own set of skills, we protected and cared for each other, had a lot of fun times and saw the wonders of the world together. We also had disagreements, we fought, we got tired, worried and uncomfortable. But we grew stronger. The amazing experiences we had together will always be embedded in our hearts and minds. The beauty of Halong Bay in Vietnam, the magic of sleeping in a glass igloo and riding on a reindeer sleigh in Finland, remembering our traditions while visiting the XMAS markets in Central Europe, riding on a camel and staying at a camp in the Sahara desert, getting up close and personal with tigers and elephants in Thailand, zip lining together over a crystal clear beach in Palawan, Philippines and going back in time while visiting the Temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We created unimaginable memories together that will last a lifetime.
SO, THANK YOU VALERIE! Not only for making me a mom and being a wonderful daughter but also for being my partner in crime. For being an intelligent, fearless and adventurous young woman. A wonderful future awaits you. Go on, continue conquering the world! I will always be here if you need me. Love, Mom.
DON’T WAIT, MAKE A PLAN, POSTPONE NOTHING.
We are Mari and Val, a 53 year old mother and a 22 year old daughter who left everything behind and traveled the world for six months. Our blog is called Mari and Val Round the World and it is where we have and will continue to write about the places and experiences during our journey. You can follow us at: